Board Game Reviews

Concept Review

Theme and What is it?

If you have ever been to a social gathering, you’ve probably played some form of Charades at some point in your life. Concept takes the idea of charades and brings the fun to the table! With the assistance of the game board icons, players will use their deduction skills to connect the dots solving words or phrases being expressed.

Gameplay Mechanics

In Concept, players will take turns drawing a card on which there are three categories to choose from - easy, medium or challenging - and then choose one of the three words in the selected category. Players should decide beforehand which category of difficulty they wish to play at, taking into account all players ability and level of familiarity with the game. Once a player has selected a word, they will use the pawns and cubes provided to give clues on the board for the other players to guess. The pawns represent primary thoughts, while the corresponding coloured cubes help define the idea. The green question mark pawn is used to distinguish the main concept, while the other coloured pawns support the first as sub concepts. The first player to guess the correct word or saying receives points, as does the player giving the clues. First player to 12 points is the victor.

Initial Impressions

Playing a game of Concept, like most race games, can leave you a little lightheaded after an intense round. Getting caught up in blurting ideas out as each new cube is placed forming new connections between the symbols is not only fun, but hilarious. One of my favourite things about the game is hearing the ideas - whether grounded or outlandish - other players come up with and guess as each round plays out.
The game itself is quite straightforward and allows for easy modification of the rules to allow for team play or challenge modes depending on how you set up the points system. You can even throw the points away entirely and just play for the fun of it.
What I really enjoy about Concept is that everyone draws different meaning from the symbols and pictures depicted on the game board. Depending on who you’re playing with, you can take different tactics on which symbols to use to try and get your idea across. The game does come with a legend for the symbols on the board which can help define and reduce confusion on what the symbols mean. However, I appreciate that the symbols are open to interpretation so players can use symbols more liberally. While it can be frustrating trying to get some of the more difficult ideas and phrases like “Break out in a cold sweat” across, there is such a gratifying feeling when you finally lead someone to the right answer.
As the game can be played to any number of points - or without them - you can use concept as a quick filler game by playing a round or two, or it can be the feature of your game night.

Quality of Components and Insert

Concept comes with a fairly large, nice quality game board, 110 cards - each with nine words or phrases, an array of light bulb shaped cardboard score counters, five good quality plastic pawns and an assortment of corresponding plastic cubes. The custom insert in the box is made perfectly to house all components. Everything has a nice sturdy feel to it, though the card stock is a bit thin - nothing a few sleeves can’t fix!
In addition, there are a handful of reference sheets providing a few words per icon to help describe what each symbol on the game board represents. The “rule book” is more or less just different examples of connecting ideas, though there is a quick rundown of how to play the game.

Artistic Direction

While there is not a great deal of art in Concept, the images on the gameboard are visually striking on the stark white background. Each image is concise and serves its purpose well, getting the idea it represents across. The overall theme to the art is practical, suiting the nature of the game well and serving its intended purpose.

Difficulty and age range suggestion

As the game cards come with three difficulty levels built in, Concept is suited for people of all ages. The recommendation the game provides is 10+, however I feel that younger audiences could also appreciate and benefit from playing. Using this game as a way to reinforce the understanding of words for children by having them describe something they know in new ways could be a wonderful educational tool.
While some of the more challenging words and phrases I admit are tough, I also feel it is only limited to your imagination. There are many paths to lead someone to an idea. Breaking the word or phrase down and focusing on one part at a time can help lead players to even the most challenging answers.

Conclusions

Overall, Concept is a fun, beautiful and engaging game. I would recommend it to any size group - even two players - of all ages. Just make sure to use words in the difficulty category that best suits your group, and work towards harder ones as you become more familiar with the symbols. Don’t get upset if the group can’t figure out what you were trying to get at, it happens. The great part about Concept is there are a ton of cards - so choose another and keep playing!

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